Middle School Drawing Assignments For High School


Sketchbook Assignments

Submitted by: Amanda Linn,
Harmony Grove High School


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Lesson Plans: Make a Sketchbook (6-12) | Sketch book Choices and Ideas | H.S. Sketchbook Ideas


From Amanda Linn: I thought these might be useful to others. I am sometimes stumped for meaningful sketchbook ideas. Many of these are ideas I have "sponged" and modified from other people. Others were designed to prepare my students for specific art experiences we will have in the future or to support themes and ideas we are exploring.


· Select an above or below point of view in a specific area (your room, kitchen, bathroom, outside, in a car, etc. Complete this drawing paying attention to details. You may complete the drawing in pencil, colored pencil, pen, etc.

· Choose a portion of a magazine or newspaper picture. Glue that picture on a page in your sketchbook. Create a drawing that incorporates that picture into a story. You may use more than one magazine or newspaper image BUT the artwork should be made mainly from your added drawings. This artwork should span 2 pages. You may use color or shading. OR you could use a color scheme (monochromatic, etc.)


· Choose an enclosed space- a kitchen cabinet, a television, an oven, a refrigerator, in a drawer or closet. What human qualities do the objects in the enclosed space assume when no one is watching? Do the mustard bottles dance? Do the socks play cards? This can be one page with details…be sure and show the interior of the space as well as the objects.


· Over 2 pages show the gradual transformation of a pair of scissors into another object- example: scissors into a shark- DON"T USE THIS EXAMPLE- it was my idea. Details are needed in the drawing- color is optional.

· If you got a holiday card from one of these artists what would it look like?

  • Pablo Picasso

  • Berthe Morisot

  • Salvador Dali

  • Georgia O’Keefe

  • Vincent Van Gogh

  • Frida Kahlo

· Arrange three related objects (3 kitchen items, 3 shoes, sports equipment, etc.) into a composition. Draw on one page using a light source and shading

· Create an image using only found images (from magazines, newspapers, worksheets, etc.) The image should communicate a message or tell a story

· Practice drawing anything from observation- the most common things are good practice

· Look at yourself in a spoon- draw the distorted image

· What happens when a 6-foot tall squirrel shows up in your yard?

· Identify an object that relates to your identity. Create an artwork that uses the image of that object (or the actual object) as the SINGLE FOCUS of the artwork. Open media.

· Fill in the blank… "I am a _________ in this world." Use the text of the completed sentence to inform the artwork. Open Media. This should be a 2 page spread

· Answer these questions with an image:

At age six I was ________

At age twelve I was _______

Now I am ________

At age 25 I will be ______

At age 75 I will be ______

Arrange these images in a composition that communicates your identity. Open media. Should span at least 4 pages in some order that communicates the answers to the questions.

· Illustrate a dream you have had using only 5 symbols (single images that communicate ideas) This may take one or two pages. You may use color or black and white to complete the image.  Consider what you know about composition, emphasis, etc. as you build the images.

· Make a detailed drawing of your hand holding something related to the fall season OR related to school. Make the drawing large enough that it touches all the edges of the page. You may add color or use shading

· Your choice- create a one or two page drawing that demonstrates several of your strongest art skills. This is your chance to create your own assignment as many of you have requested,

· What does the holiday season really mean to you? Your image can be abstract or realistic; you may choose the media. AVOID common images- meaning if you choose to show holiday gifts- SHOW THEM IN A CREATIVE WAY! I

· Create a design using elements from magazine or newspaper images. Cut and paste the images onto the page in your sketchbook to create the design.

· Practice observational drawing skills by drawing from the following list:

  • Shoes

  • Corner of a room in your house

  • Create an arrangement of objects, use a lamp or other light to make dramatic shadows,

  • Your pet

  • Creative views of your car, bicycle, skateboard, etc.

  • Make the image reach all the way to the edges of the page. Demonstrate what you know about point of view, emphasis, composition, positive and negative space, etc.

· Practice drawing from your imagination by drawing from the following list:

 #1:  Contour line interior/exterior!  Due Wed. Sept. 21st

#2:  Observational leaf drawing  Due Tuesday, October 4th

Follow instructions. All on one page.

1. Draw a horizon line.
2. Add fiber material to the page.  (ex: fabric, ribbon, paper, cloth, etc.)
3. Cut out pieces of a person from a magazine. Collage on page.
4. Cut out words or numbers from an old homework assignment. Collage on page.
5. Use something messy and apply to page. (ex: mud, coffee, glitter, paint, nail polish, etc.)
6. Partially destroy page. (ex: rip, burn, crumple, cut up, etc.)
7. Draw a tiny secret hidden somewhere on the page.
8. Title the page. Write the title somewhere on the page.

Typology Study

Typology:  a classification according to general type

Series of 6 sketches or drawings of a type of thing
Feathers, birds, eyes, flowers, houses, shoes, fruit, beards, cats, etc.
Minimum size for each drawing: 2" x 2"

Render realistically, any medium.

Added challenge: do this assignment from observation!!! I always encourage drawing from observation because it will benefit your artistic skills GREATLY - it's not an easier option but it will make you better!

3 Hand Studies from OBSERVATION!

New Year's Resolution Word


What is in your heart?


Snapchat Selfie Caricature

Take a selfie and alter yourself using a snapchat app or other photo editing filter/app/program.
Draw and embellish using your own choice of medium/media!
Due Friday, March 4th


As a drawing prompt--Look up your daily horoscope.  
Interpret your horoscope through a drawing.  
​Choose your own media.
Due Wednesday, March 16th!
In preparation for our Contour Line Drawing project, use line to render an interior or exterior space.  Focus on composition and detail.  
Find a real leaf.
Pick one with interesting visual characteristics:  curled edges, holes, veins, etc...
Draw realistically using graphite.
Pay attention to value and detail.
Draw yourself as a superhero! Using your initials and the key below, determine your superhero name.  Spend a minimum of  50 minutes on the drawing.  
Transformation / Metamorphosis
Students will draw the surreal process of one object transforming into another object. Drawing can be as a flip book or on one page.
Spend a minimum of 50 minutes on drawing. 

Student Examples

This sketchbook exercise is a warm-up to thinking about sculpture for our next unit project. 

Draw three DIFFERENT angles (views) of a fairly complex 3D object. Examples of fairly complex 3D objects are chairs, lamps, soap dispensers, eye glasses, shoes etc.
Different angles or views means that the images are not similar to draw (example: two profile views of a chair would be the same image). 
Render shadows.  

Student Examples

From observation, draw your hand in three different positions.
  • Begin with contour.  
  • Shade to help create the illusion of form.
  • Add detail!

  • Decide on a word that relates to a New Year's resolution or goal you have
  • Create an artistic font/layout for your word
  • Create designs or "zentangles" around your word to help illuminate it
  • Use the full page
  • Consider:  composition!
  • Balance:  positive and negative space, "busy" and "restful"

Students will:
  • Set up marbles:  hot glue onto a scrap of matboard
  • draw from observation
  • draw a minimum of 5 marbles
  • use graphite, focusing on defining shapes/reflections with highlights and shadows
  • draw cast shadows
  • create contrast
Draw a human heart and embellish it with imagery related to what is in your heart (what you hold close to you/what is important to you).

Students may choose their media.
  • graphite 
  • ink
  • colored pencil
  • collage, watercolor
  • mixed media

This is a drawing from imagination assignment.
Students will:
  • Create 3 photo booth-like strips with 4 windows/images per strip.
  • Begin with a ink or watercolor wash.
  • Draw with ink pen on top of the wash using a micron or similar type pen.
  • Be creative!
  • Pay attention to detail.

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